Radio Drama
Science Faction

Vol #3, Issue 7
"Stand By For Mars!"
March 2006

The Thunder Child: Tom DeHaven, author of It's Superman
Interview by Caroline Miniscule

Tom DeHaven's Biography continued

I went to a Catholic grammar school, then to a Catholic high school, where I was a classmate of George R.R. Martin, the (future) science fiction/fantasy novelist (he didn�t have the R.R. in his name then). We weren�t friends, although he was an editor of the school newspaper when I was the cartoonist.

In 1971 I got a degree in Sociology from Rutgers/Newark, although those being turbulent times, the university was shut down for strikes, it seems, more than it was open for classes, and I�m not sure I deserved a degree (but what the hell, I took one anyway). By then I�d realized I�d never be a professional cartoonist (the First Great Disappointment Of My Life), but my writing held some promise (or so I was told) and I applied to an MFA program in Creative Writing at a university out in Ohio�Bowling Green.

After getting my master�s degree in 1973, I went to work in New York City as an editor for a number of men�s magazines (Sir!, Mr. and Man to Man) owned by Adrien Lopez, father of naturalist/novelist Barry Lopez. This was that deliciously cockeyed era when �porn� briefly had a lot of cachet (the era of Deep Throat, Devil in Miss Jones, etc.) and I was assigned to write articles about �the industry.� I met most of the directors and �stars� of X-rated films and from that experience (weirdly enough) sprang my first novel, Freaks� Amour, a fantasy about a group of mutants living in Jersey City, two of whom make their living by performing live sex shows for �normal� people.

That book, published in 1979, enjoyed a fairly long life as a �cult novel,� to the extent that as late as the early 1990s it was regularly optioned for a film. (The last time it was, it was optioned by Alex Proyas, director of The Crow, Dark City and I, Robot, and I spent two years working with him on a screenplay, which of course was never produced.)

My other novels, published throughout the 1980s and 90s included Jersey Luck, Sunburn Lake, the YA novels USSA, Joe Gosh, and The Orphan�s Tent, a fantasy series book-brokered by Byron Preiss and published by Doubleday called Chronicles of the King�s Tramp (Walker of Worlds, End-of-Everything Man and The Last Human) and a trilogy of novels I�ve always called �The Cartoonists Trilogy� but others have dubbed the �Derby Dugan books��Funny Papers (1984), Derby Dugan�s Depression Funnies (1996) and Dugan Under Ground (2001). Depression Funnies won an American Book Award and Dugan Under Ground, the Library of Virginia Fiction Award.

Depression Funnies won an American Book Award and Dugan Under Ground, the Library of Virginia Fiction Award.

During the last years of the run of Art Spiegelman�s and Francoise Mouly�s Raw magazine, I contributed prose fiction and a comics script for Richard Sala. I also scripted the book-length comics adaptation of Neuromancer for Marvel Comics, and Green Candles for DC�s Paradox line, and was, in the late 1980s, one of the contributing writers to an animated TV series called Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.

From 1990 through 2000, I was reviewed books two or three times a month for �Entertainment Weekly.�

I started teaching creative writing part-time at Hofstra University in 1981, moved to Rutgers to teach American Studies (including one of the first college courses on American comics) in 1987, then moved to Richmond and became a full time teacher, and eventually a full professor, in the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University, where I still teach�mostly in the graduate MFA program, although I usually offer at least one American Studies course every year, including �The Graphic Novel.� I�ve been married for 35 years and have two grown daughters.

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